Canadian Tuxedo's Profile

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ISO Quiet place for a winter drink, Harvard-Porter-Davis Squares

The Red House in Harvard Square might be an option. I haven't been in the past two winters, but they used to serve a warm beverage of some sort during the winter, as well as a decent beer selection (I can't speak to their wines).

The biggest plus is the wood fueled fireplace and the small tables in front of it. It tends to get busy after normal work hours, but if you can get there in the afternoon it tends to be quiet and you can score a table in front of the fire.

Lunch options in Harvard Square

Regarding Boylston-to-JFK St., the story is that in the very early eighties when Reagan was in office and there was a strong anti-Democratic party sentiment the Kennedy School dropped "Kennedy" off of its letterhead and went with Harvard School of Government instead. The Cambridge City Council did not approve and changed the name of the street so that no matter what JFK would appear in the address of the School.

Lunch options in Harvard Square

Oh man, thanks for reminding me about Chutneys. I really liked that place, but had moved away from Boston for a few years and have just recently returned. While I've been back to the Square I haven't had the need to go into the Garage. And I'm embarrassed to admit I forget about Chutneys.

Lunch options in Harvard Square

Certainly not knocking the Kennedy School cafeteria as it is solid for it's size, but those of who used to work there would sometimes venture across the river to the Business School cafeteria. So many more choices (I seem to remember that they had a sushi chef on staff, but I could be making that up), very good quality, and very reasonable. Between the two schools you can tell who has the donors with the bigger pockets...

Lunch options in Harvard Square

For pizza definitely check out Pinocchio's on Winthrop, just off of JFK. Try their Sicilian.

Burritos at Felipe's. They are currently operating out of Flat Patties while they build out their new location a couple of doors down at what used to be a Bertucci's.

Retirement party for 50 near Government Center

What about the "Chez Freddie Lounge," the back room in Silvertone? Should meet all your criteria.

Curious why ramen is so rare and yet sushi joints are on every corner?

I've been out of Boston in DC for several years, and regardless wouldn't feel comfortable giving an opinion about this particular food in this particular market.

But, I would like to say that y'all are silly. By that I mean all the talk of Japanese equivalents and pork and _____. Different country. Different market. Stop comparing. Even to NYC and LA. I've never been to Japan. But while I've traveled extensively in Eastern Europe, I don't hold restaurants in that part of the world as absolute comparisons to what I find here. Nor what my mother (born and raised in that part of the world) made as an absolute comparison. It informs...not distinguishes.

That said, there a number of good ramen joints in DC. By good, I mean I like them and they are reviewed well. I cannot compare them to anything in Japan or NYC or LA personally. However, they seem to be well regarded and despite the international population in this town, the "not up to Japanese or NYC standards" snobbishness doesn't seem to appear here.

But to the question of sushi vs. ramen: I don't know why one got accepted over the other originally, but sushi began invading the American conscious back at least in the 80's, if not 70's. That's a pretty big head start, which led to the proliferation of sushi over ramen in towns across this country.

Ramen is just breaking in over this last five or ten years, so regardless of other factors I wouldn't be surprised if it took at least another ten years before it became established across the US.

Boston Cocktail Summit October 4-6

So what was the hot wash/after action impact report?

Did local establishments (including staff) gain from the event or did they actually lose money while gaining little new esteem?

Nov 28, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

Why all the fuss? I just don't get it.

For every topic where I might disagree with you on this board, I really do miss the equivalent of your Cheap Eats articles down here in DC.

Everyone (MSM and bloggers alike) wants to review the hottest new thing. But deep diving into the lowest price category of establishments and highlighting those that hit it out of the park is a true service to those of us who want value but can't possibly hit every hole in the wall while hoping to find a diamond in the rough.

(That last sentence an awful example of what not to include in a review, just to draw out that string...)

While in Boston, more than a few places were inserted in my regular rotation due to your hard work. So thanks.

Upscale meal with good vegetarian options

Thanks for making the vegetarian case. While we lived there, my vegetarian girlfriend and I loved the occasional trip to Craigie. I'd heard the story you tell about Maw's attitude, but the options are limited for vegetarians. The one thing we learned was that while the Chef's Choice menu changed often for the regular guest, the vegetarian option was best ordered on an almost quarterly basis, because the options (so basically thinking and creativity) didn't change nearly as much.

For the OP, I would suggest Bondir. While I didn't get the chance to try it before moving away, my veg girlfriend did on a visit back. And she loved it. And she doesn't eat seafood of any kind (just to be clear). So obviously that might fit with what you are looking for. Good luck.

Why all the fuss? I just don't get it.

And may you never be led astray because you chuckled at a succinct review that ends up having nothing to do with reality.

This isn't the New York Times or Atlantic. Good writing makes it easier to digest the information being presented. But if I'm looking for tips and ideas about new restaurants or interesting dishes, I want reliable information first and captivating writing last.

So MC has it right when he wrote: " You like what you like, and don't like what you don't, and that's as it should be."

But gets off the point when he begins a sentence: "Good writing, a sense of humor" that ends "are also good signifiers." They signify some writing talent and say nothing about that individual's taste, impartiality, or subject matter knowledge.

And MC, yes you rattle on here and in the pieces you did for the non-Phoenix free weeklies. The Cheap Eat articles I found invaluable. The others...not so much. I always figured you had a stronger editor at the Phoenix.

Why all the fuss? I just don't get it.

What does good writing have to do with anything?

I agree on following the advice of individuals who seem to flow with your own tastes, but their ability to write clearly or make one laugh leads one down the dark path of opinion page writers who do not offer insight but only distraction.

Pointing out a great hidden gem of a dish or a restaurant does not require an editor, thesaurus, or a SNL writing team...

Boston Cocktail Summit October 4-6

This all sounds expected for a first time "big conference," but also unfortunate.

I don't live in Boston anymore, but I have to admit that I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that the participating bartenders couldn't get their shifts covered for one evening for this event.

Bars in the Boston area are depleted of the top staff for Tales, and in DC one of the higher profile establishments (equivalent to Drink) closed for a couple of days so most of the staff could go down to New Orleans to lend support for their one chance at an award.

Bad on Boston-area bar managers not to support this conference by working the schedule to get the right people off at the right times. Short term angst would be negated by long term good publicity.

Oct 16, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

Channel 5 News: Dave Andelman complains about food trucks hurting brick-and-mortar restaurant business

You're not a blogger...but you include your blog's website at the bottom of your post? (You might not have updated it in a while, but you still have a blog.)

Just sayin'.

And yes, you have the reviews in the free weeklies and push your reviews on twitter when they are picked up by eater.com....but that doesn't mean you should try to distance yourself from a tool you use to push those other "non-blogging...but really what's the difference" pieces.

Brick & Mortar

My first experiences with Misty behind the bar was near the end of her Green St. tenure. That was before she became renown for her Mescal drinks and instead when asked for something off menu or a general suggestion (at least in my experience) it was Green Chartreuse heavy.

Don't get me wrong, I very much enjoy Chartreuse. But it is also a powerful taste and can be overwhelming. Sometimes the drinks she made were not balanced in this regard. I'm not sure what nights this occurred, though it was almost certainly not a weekend night as I was likely to drop by after work during that period.

Restaurants that AREN'T doing Restaurant Week?

I'm not insulted by restaurants not taking part in RW. The economic argument against it is certainly strong. In general I do think the "we're not doing it but having a slightly higher prix fixe" is just an attempt to accomplish the same goal while covering the cost of ingredients.

But what insulted me about that oped were some of the core arguments: health care, cost of local produce, and 9/11. Health care is a complicated subject, and not a core reason that a restaurant THIS year can't afford to do RW (hasn't the costs been rising for years--never mind all the other factors?). As I mentioned, he isn't using local produce over the winter (unless its hothouse and who is going to pay a premium for that?) but likely not lowering the corresponding prices. And I won't even go over the 9/11 argument again--that is just morally insulting.

I'm no longer a Boston-area customer and haven't participated in RW for years, but while I certainly can understand why many establishments could see the logic of not participating I will certainly call out a horribly bad effort at making an argument against it when it insults all restaurant patrons.

Restaurants that AREN'T doing Restaurant Week?

I didn't think it is fascinating, just poor taste.

"For example, there was a year when my health insurance went up 30 percent. For a small business, that’s very difficult to absorb."

Yes, it is. For all small businesses. Yet many of them still do sales and other promotions aimed at increasing their clientele. It seems as if many places no longer feel RW accomplishes that goal, but beginning the article by citing a systemic issue is weak tea in terms of basing his argument in the environment of the restaurant business and RW.

"The mixed greens I buy cost $10 or $12 a pound, whereas I can pay $7 for a 3-pound box of organic spring mix like you see in the supermarket. It’s raised in California by a giant corporation, while the mix I get is local and picked a few times a week. They may contain some of the same varieties of greens, but there’s a world of difference."

I checked Lumiere's menu online and didn't see a salad where this was an issue. And does he adjust the price during that long period of time that he can't get greens grown in New England? Tell his customers that the salad they are ordering no longer is grown locally when it's December? Never mind the impact on the environment of trucking greens in from neighboring states as opposed to shipping them by sea (local may taste better, but studies show it's often worse for the environment as trucks are much worse for carbon emissions than ships or trains).

"A fundamental change in the restaurant industry took place after September 11, 2001. People got scared. Up until then you had irrational exuberance. Today, the haves have more and everybody else has a little less, and I think that affects restaurants as well. You also see businesses spending less on food and dining."

"But there are new restaurants opening almost every day. More food dollars are being spent outside the home, and the economy here, for a lot of people, is still quite good."

Okay....9/11. Really. Over ten years later. Really?!? Yes there was a short lived impact, but he's blaming larger economic shifts on 9/11? That gets perilously close to the "Hitler" rule in international relations punditry--you cite Hitler (or the Nazis) and you've already invalidated your point.

But he provides that service himself when he points out that "new restaurants opening almost every day." They might not be participating in RW. Yet there is apparently a market for new restaurants. People want to eat out. Just maybe not at his restaurants like they used to. There is probably a very good market-based reason for that. They don't seem to be suffocating under the cost of locally grown greens or the health care market.

Just refuse to participate in RW. Don't insult your customers by crying over your greens and bringing up 9/11.

Poor taste.

Brick & Mortar

Big crowds equals the occasionally poorly made cocktail, no matter the lineage of the staff.

It always confuses me why people are surprised when _____ (insert craft cocktail establishment here that doesn't restrict the crowd) fails to live up to standards built upon experiences when they were just opened/not so popular.

Hell, I had more than one poorly balanced cocktail from Misty in her Green St days...(gasp...the horror....).

Your favorite gin for classic cocktails?

I understand you now and fully agree.

Though I will admit to being tempted by certain bottles just for the pure joy/ridiculousness of the packaging. But a recent move has drastically reduced my bar space so such indulgences cannot be tolerated when I need the room for the stuff I actually like...

Mar 25, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

Your favorite gin for classic cocktails?

All I have to say, especially considering your remarks about how bottles look, is so what?

In terms of vodka I like the taste, no matter how they market themselves. Haven't we already established marketing as the real price mover in vodka?

It is this same reason that I'm against Plymouth. Started out relatively cheap, but once it became popular in cocktail bars they increased the price by $10. Yet in terms of taste, for me at least, it is not a solid London dry or a new aromatic product. It's the closest thing I've come to tasting a gin that tastes like vodka...but just my opinion.

But I find that it became a "cool" gin and as the price went up so did the accolades...not unlike vodka.

Mar 24, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

Your favorite gin for classic cocktails?

Not to get into the general vodka argument, but I just moved away from Boston a few months ago and at least in late 2011 Tito's was definitely not what I would call a "pricey" vodka. In fact, for a while I could find the 1.75L bottles for under $20. Though near the end of my residency that price only held for the standard 750mL.

Still, while not as cheap as Sobieski (I think what's his name (Aaron perhaps?) at Russel House Tavern used to be an ambassador of some type for that brand), not in the category of pricey (which is an indication of the power of marketing). And perhaps my favorite vodka to have on hand in my bar.

Mar 21, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

What are your favorite new gins?

Hard to find outside of Massachusetts, but the gins produced by Berkshire Mountain Distillers (both the Greylock and Ethereal) are pretty special.

Mar 21, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

Best "cheap" gin?

I absolutely agree. Never been a huge fanboy for Plymouth, but thought it was solid when it was available for under $20. Now that it's pushing $30+, not so much.

Mar 21, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

anniversary dinner in DC for vegetarian and meateater

Corduroy. My girlfriend recently took me there for a celebration and we got the tasting menu. She is vegetarian (not vegan but definitely no fish), but since she called a few days in advance for the reservation despite it not being on the menu the kitchen was happy to do a vegetarian tasting menu. (I should mention mine was definitely NOT vegetarian.)

And she absolutely loved it (apologies for not remembering exactly what she had). The service was excellent as well.

And it's not even 5 minutes from the Mt. Vernon/Convention Center Metro stop. (And you can always swing by the Passenger or make reservations at the Columbia Room for pre or after dinner drinks).

A Good Negroni -- why so difficult?

Silvertone has always been a free-pouring type of establishment. Not a knock, just the way it has been, and how I suspect it will remain.

One will get the occasional measured pour, but that has been rare occasion depending on either the bartender (none of the long time regulars measure on a regular basis) or particular drink.

Still a great bar for a variety of reasons.

Suggestions for restaurant in Penn Quarter/Chinatown/Mt. Vernon Triangle?

I have no idea about PennQ's motivation, but having recently moved to the Mt. Vernon neighborhood and only having walked through Sixth Engine and looked at the menu I do have one quibble about Paul from No Va's description. The beer prices alone (Racer 5 for $8 and nothing below $6) disqualify the "great price point" comment when it comes to drinks. In addition, the Post review had them pricing their cocktails around $12 to be in the same neighborhood as Buddha Bar across the street.

An even worse price point when one can go to the Passenger in the same neighborhood and get many a fine cocktail at $10 (they get up to $12 depending on the type and number of ingredients). Never mind Mandu's happy hour where their interesting (if small) entire draft micro brew selection is $3.

Looking for stylish dining options for a DC Foodie

Having been a couple of times now, I can confidently say there is nothing in Boston like the Columbia Room.

This includes not just the actual drinks but the entire experience. Drink and/or Eastern Standard do not come close.

Having lived in DC between years in Boston, unless the OP wants a drink I would not suggest going out of way just for cocktails. When it's an added bonus, great. But DC is Boston's equal in terms of craft cocktails.

Eastern Standard
528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Boston restaurants with a service shtick?

I'll throw out Cuchi Cuchi, though more for the specific look (big pieces of costume jewelry and sexy dresses) than attitude.

Cuchi Cuchi
795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Recommendations for old school/divey/gritty Boston spots - restaurants and bars (w/ or w/o food)

I just wanted to second the Galway--they have a pretty good beer selection and the food can be surprisingly good...

...and it's not lacking in gritty.

Chowhound "bum steers"

Perhaps not "Chowish," but realistic.

This was the general point I was attempting to get at in our previous back-and-forth about the practicality of people with dinner reservations in Central Sq. going for cocktails pre-dinner in "Kendall." A short walk of over ten minutes is still occasionally not comfortable in terms of dining plans...there are issues with parking or public transit in addition to the potential walk that usually means most people (even Chow-leaning) will not consider cocktails at Hungry Mother is much of an option pre-Craigie (regardless of potential waits...and whoever thought that Green St. Grill was farther from Craigie than HM...check Google Maps...).

Hungry Mother
Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA